The loophole in 'campaign finance reform'

Friday, March 23, 2001 at 12:00am

In a little-known section of the campaign finance laws, oil companies are completely exempted from spending restrictions. They alone can donate as much money as they see fit directly to candidates in thinly disguised "issue advertising," or coordinated expenditures.

And spend they do. Year in, year out, oil companies lavish billions of dollars on advertisements promoting their pet politicians and sponsoring vicious negative attack ads on the politicians they oppose.

It is no accident the very first bill taken up by the U.S. Senate would extend the oil companies' restrictive covenant and would prohibit others from competing with these enormous, vile, polluting conglomerates. Except the exemption

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